The upper winds are light from the northwest so I call for the “New Boat Ramp” at the established rapids Park in Keizer. The group today is from a small town to the south and long time residents of Oregon. We get the balloon out of the bag and get the top hooked up and the envelope pressurized for the heat. We are up and I call for the passengers to board and after the briefing we are off the lot. Since we are at the river we cross it first thing then are into West Salem and the farm country for a bit. The winds are light so we slowly drift over Riverbend pond and I give us a little “dip” in the water. I do it so well that the passengers didn’t even feel it, the only proof is the drips off the basket. We slip over the tree line and again cross the river this time into the south edge of Keizer. We have a lot of Osprey now that the paper mill is gone and the river has flushed out most of the toxins collected on the bottom so the fish are now (again) eatable. We pass over an active nest with the Mother sitting on the eggs so she was a bit “miffed” at us for getting to close. We continue the drift to the east, southeast at a slow pace and meet the “gang” at River Road Park. We cross the Parkway and over Cap. Chevy’s new building then onto the Oregon Deaf School property which is balloon friendly. We land here often but not today as we still have time on the clock. I’m looking at the State Fairgrounds as a possible LZ (landing zone) today so the gang move that way. The winds lower are “funky” and I miss the Oak Grove to the south so I move the gang to the Oregon Cherry Growers parking lot as the LZ today. We get the balloon down, the passengers do the “sit” and we head back to the park for the picnic.
I get the